Three crew members missing after attack on Barbados-flagged vessel off coast of Yemen

Three crew members are missing from the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier True Confidence and four others have been badly burned after the vessel was damaged off Yemen earlier today, a shipping source says.

The Greek-owned cargo ship True Confidence has been hit by a missile about 50 nautical miles (93km) southwest of the Yemeni port of Aden in an attack claimed by Houthi forces.

The bulk carrier was drifting with a fire continuing onboard after it was attacked on Wednesday, a statement by the ship’s owner and operator said, adding that no information was available on the status of the ship’s 20 crew members and three armed guards.

But a shipping source told the Reuters news agency that three sailors were missing from the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier and four were badly burned.

Two United States officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the attack had caused fatalities.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said the vessel was no longer under the command of the crew and they had abandoned it.

Yemen’s Houthis said on Wednesday they had targeted the cargo ship with missiles, causing a fire to break out onboard.

“The targeting operation came after the ship’s crew rejected warning messages from the Yemeni naval forces,” the militia’s military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility although it typically takes Houthi forces several hours to acknowledge their assaults.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians and in opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to reroute to longer and more expensive journeys around Southern Africa.

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